Monday marked the first day of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. Here we give you a brief guide to one of the largest religious observances in the world.
Falling in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection for Muslims all over the globe.
The name Ramadan derives from the Arabic word for intense heat and sun-scorched ground and it is thought that the linguistic connection between the two represents the thirst caused by fasting during this hot season.
During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast during daylight hours. The reason behind this practice is that it is believed to teach patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God. As well as no food or liquids Muslims are expected to avoid all temptation that may detract them from worship.
After dark, small meals can be consumed but not in excessive amounts.
The end of Ramadan is marked by a three day holiday called Eid ul-Fitr. It is custom to demonstrate the end of the fast by having a small, sweet breakfast such as dates or other dried fruit. The Eid-al-Fitr is a great celebration, on this day Muslims show their thanks for health, strength and life.
It is custom to give food to the poor; and to put on your best, or new, clothes. Communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends.
Are you currently celebrating Ramadan, or have you relocated to a country where it is widely practiced? Get in touch and share your stories!